Constance May 20th, 2007
Â [ â€œThe harmonies are incredible, and the way the music expresses the different cultures of Middle-earth is really clever.â€ Tricky to pull together, too, apparently. The Lord of the Rings score began after a meeting in an Indian restaurant in London in 2003, set up by Nightingale, between the top Bollywood tunesmith AR Rahman and a Finnish folk ensemble, Varttina. Whether the results will sell the show to the Mary Poppins/Billy Elliot crowd remains to be seen. But they are undeniably â€“ that word again â€“ different.
This production will probably be remembered more for its sights than its sounds, however. The sheer scale of the beasties â€“ the giant black furry spider; Balrog, the humungous redeyed demon from the underworld; and, tallest of all, the 20ft stilted ents â€“ gives this Rings the feel of a Rio carnival reenacted in Covent Garden.
None of the speaking actors creates as vivid an impression as the snorting, leather-clad orcs, who power-skip and somersault across the stage like warthogs in bondage gear, and nearly steal the show when they cavort among the front rows of the stalls during the break between Acts II and III. Alongside these circus stunts, there are illusions, such as the vanishing of Bilbo Baggins in Act I, and a succession of back-projected images that hover above and behind the action. Warchusâ€™s bid to fashion what he calls â€œtotal theatreâ€ is about as total a spectacle as this theatregoer has witnessed.
Now there is another pause, until the critics return their verdict on June 20. As a creature of the world of subsidised art theatre, Warchus is suspicious of what he sees as the crude judgments of the mainstream commercial market. â€œThe day after this opens, we will be disproportionately congratulated or disproportionately abused. That reception does not represent a validation of what weâ€™ve done, I believe.â€Â ]
There’s also a behind-the-scenes video, which provides some flavor of this production, including the music.Â It does rather appear worth getting a ticket.